Thursday, April 10, 2008

Poll Thursday - Sectionals Weekend 2...Michigan Sectional action

Last week, I polled about an amateur Ultimate film server, and how many game videos people would buy on an average week off the server. The 50% sit in the 1 to 2 dollar range (1 to 2 games) per week with the error that I didn't include a 0 option. This small marketing poll suggests that we don't really want more footage of Ultimate at this cost point. The caveat is the smallness of the poll and the poor formation of the question may have skewed the results.

This week is the second weekend of the UPA college series. You can find coverage here and here, and RRI has the brackets. I'm most interested in one particular sectionals, Michigan Open, as my alumni team (UofT's Tula) heads into the series. We've only qualified once in the three years we've been to sectionals and that year we got disqualified (but we sure turned heads). Last year they scheduled it on Easter weekend meaning a few of our vets couldn't make the trip, and Kalamazoo took us out after Michigan and Michigan State took their historical positions as 1 and 2. This year we're sending the new blood, and based on Double Down results they have a shot this weekend, while Michigan is clearly the favourite for taking the weekend. Michigan has definitely retooled their team after missing out on the Championships last year from the Great Lakes region.

The poll is, assuming there are three spots out of the Michigan sectional to Great Lake regionals, pick your three teams to go (poll right).

Lets go Tula!


ryan said...

could you give us some insider information for the u of t team? is it the same group of guys that won cuuc? if it is, they should do well in the series.

Jeters said...

Hey Ryan,

It's not the same team. The CUUC team, I would argue, would make it through sectionals and regionals (possibly into the semis and finals at the championship).

The relaxed eligibility rules in Canada allow people like myself to play deep into our grad school plus we can pick up three non UofT guys from schools that don't have their own teams in the area.

The UofT team will still be strong with many from the CUUC team and fill out with the lower guys. I doubt they'll compete with the big two, so the question is about that last spot.


Patrick Mooney said...

hey pete, hope all is well in england and congrats on getting the coaching spot for team canada. i know weve butted heads on what im about to ask so feel free to tell me your thoughts and everyone else chime in too.....

weve talked alot about how proud you are of helping in the development of torontula over the last 4 or 5 years or so and how i dont think picking up ringers is very fair, especially when they are as good as your three were, i think all 3 will play team canada this summer just to put it in persepctive. how can you argue that taking three ringers and playing them religously helps to develop your program i mean its pretty clear when in the last 4 years you guys havent made it outside of sectionals yet youve won canadian nationals twice in a row

in my opinion the rules that CUPA has in place with regards to pick ups are both out of date and unfair and do nothing to promote true growth or development. they are in place to encourage the growth of the game and to give people a chance to play who otherwise wouldnt have a chance i understand that and love that someone like scotty or toyla or inian can find a team to play for.

I guess my first question to you is how does this promote growth? Instead of having your ringers try to start a program of their own at their home schools they go to schools which already have teams (2 at U of T). Secondly how do you justify that big city teams like U of T/Magill/Ottawa get a huge pool of schools to pick up ringers from where as teams like Nippissing or lakehead dont get that opportunity just because there are no other schools in the area. Thus this rule benefits the teams who already have no trouble getting enough players for a team and that doesnt seem fair. Finally how does this help your teams development. You bring in these guys who play most of the game, at least in the CUC finals i watched. With two teams at U of T you are bumping three guys down to your B team in order to take on these Club all stars. And now when you try to qualify for UPA regionals its a struggle and it really makes me question how much development your team has truly seen. I do understand your section is not an easy one with two teams from it making nationals several times. Its the same section we used to play in my first year at queens before the regions were restructured but we still made it the one year to regionals only to get severely pounded

I guess its always fair to say that those are the rules CUPA set out and your playing within them i just think they are out of date and dont benefit your team for the whole season.

Lets hear your thoughts, im sure they are very different from mine and like i said i know weve butted heads in the past and this isnt meant to start up the fire again i just thought we could have an open discussion and get other peoples ideas

Taylor said...

Hey Mooney,
I definitely agree with you the CUPA's rules are out of date, and if we (Torontula) want to improve our performance in the spring series then we should move away from the 3 exceptions.
Regarding development, I strongly believe that have these guys has helped, not hindered. For a relatively novice player to have these guys at practice is incredible. I would always rather be a lower level player on a stronger team in terms of how much I will learn. It's not just about the games (which there are very few of in the season), it's about practicing every morning with some of the best around. Play time, with the exception of finals, is always well distributed.
I think Peter's greatest achievement in terms of developing the team is getting players touring in the summer. It wasn't just a few top touring players on the team: 22 of 25 on last fall's team had toured the previous summer.
Torontula's greatest problem in terms of the spring series is scheduling, and getting players out to sectionals. Simply, it's really bad timing. So spring becomes the 2ndary focus of the team and is more an opportunity to get some experience before starting the summer club season.

Great post to get the debate started. But once again, I agree that CUPA needs to rethink the rules.

Patrick Mooney said...

hey taylor, i hear sectionals got postponed due to weather which kind of sucks

agreed about your points on practice and how these players have helped you guys develop into better players, i support your philosphy that being the worst guy on a good team is better than being the best guy on a bad team (in most cases at least, sometimes its better to develop certain aspects of your game with the freedom of being the best guy on the team). in my mind there are two levels of development though, that of each team and that of the CUPA college scene as a whole and having those ringers might help your team develop but not the College scene. also i agree that it helps the players on the A team develop but how about those players that get relegated to the B team because of the presence of pick ups. i just really feel like picking up players when you have enough players for two teams seems a bit fishy when theres teams out there that barely have enough guys to field one team. forcing these players to try to start there own teams and programs at there own schools is a push in the right direction if you ask me. having toyla and scotty start a program at humber and adding another team to the mix is much better for everyone playing at this level than for the improvement of just one team. seems like the rule was put in place when the sport was at the grass roots level and now weve come along way and they dont make sense. they still have the right intention but i dont think they are achieving there set goals.

lastly i find it funny you guys dont care as much about spring. for queens its always been about the spring and the fall season is just for fun (its always nice to win but success in the spring carried much more weight than the fall since you are competing against hundreds of teams as opposed to say a dozen, and only a few of which are on the same level). scheduling is tough for any canadian team making the trip down south for the series but it is not an excuse not to go or not to care. for five years our team did our best to balance exams and school with trying to make it to nationals and it was much more rewarding to make it to UPA nationals then it ever was to win a CUUC national championship. i know it can be hard though, for that matter queens could only send half the roster this weekend to sectionals. i guess if you want it bad enough and thinks its worth it you find a way. i hope ottawa women decide to try there hardest to make it to sectionals/regionals and dont stop half way like last year because come may they will be one of the favorites to win UPA college nationals along with UBC, which would be a first for any canadian college team

I also agree with what you said about peter and the open club scene. His work at encouraging players to play club has strengthened the toronto club scene on the whole and helped move toronto into the elite scene

i talked with hoodie at lunch today about all this and we tried to think up some ways that maybe the rules can be updated to suit the current state of the game.

i have to do a couple things right now but ill try to post some of the ideas hoodie and i came up with on the subject later on and anything from you or anyone else would be appreciated. does anyone know the head of CUPA college scene, id like to know what they think?

i am alone at hoodie/lexi/malc/loics house right now and bored so sorry for all the long posts but this is a topic im very interested in

ryan said...

i would argue that u of t's greatest lack of development comes from not playing many/any college tournaments in the spring. trouble in vegas and the like are very good for gaining experience. cuuc is only 1 tournament and most of the strong college teams play 2-3 times in the fall (albeit usally as x-y splits) and 3+ in the spring before the series even starts.

the toronto weather and college ulti don't match very well, but that's not an excuse. wisconsin and other top teams have the same issues to deal with, and they have excelled despite this.

jhaig said...

The exception rule is silly and completely cheapens university ultimate in Canada. I could see leaving in exceptions for part time students from your school, but even then it should be limited to people working towards a degree and not someone taking one night class. The whole business of people from other schools playing for a team is ridiculous and should be changed.

As had been mentioned the only teams benefitting from this are teams in big cities who already have strong programs.
I agree with Taylor that players learn lots from having these club players around their college team. But club players can easily help develop your team through scrimmages, coaching and practice without showing up and winning the tournament for you as well.

Nate said...

I think everyone agrees that the exception rule is silly and dated.

However, I'm not sure we are in agreement regarding how the presence of the ringers affected the development of other u of t players, be it negatively or positively. I would venture that the presence of these players brought more positives than negatives to the table. Mentorship, during games and practices, is a vital part of learning. All three of the players in question were excellent leaders and mentors to the younger players. Mooney points out that these guys took playing time away from other players. The truth of the matter is that they only did so during four or possibly five games to my memory. During the finals of CEUUC '06 (against Queen's), semi-finals and finals of CUUC '06 and the finals of CUUC '07. In every other game, while the playing time was not equally distributed(and I challenge anyone to find an open level team on which the playing time is) pretty well every player played. Perhaps without those three there, more playing time would have come to the middle core of the team, but I suspect the bottom third would not have been affected.

Finally, I think the ultimate test of U of T's system will come in the fall of 2008. If U of T repeats as national champions without the three ringers, then any argument will be moot.

Nate said...

Whoops I meant to include the opponents in the games I mention. They are:

CEUUC '06 finals: Queen's
CUUC '06 semi-finals: Queen's (though only for the first half because that game turned into a route)
CUUC '06 finals: McGill
CUUC '07 finals: UBC

Patrick Mooney said...

Hey nate,

I wasnt saying that those players always played every point in every game along the way or that they didnt make your team and its players stronger im arguing the legitimacy and fairness of the rule. I know all those guys very well (as a matter of fact i was out partying till 5am on saturday with all of 3 of them) and I know for a fact they didnt play every point but they played almost every point when the games mattered which youre right is common place for teams in big games. The thing is 3/7 of the guys playing UofTs biggest games, the only ones that they might have lost, were people that didnt actually go to UofT. That doesnt seem fair. To bring in three elite club players to an already strong team is well within the rules but not fair to all the other teams who dont have that luxury. Its the rules that are wrong not that UofT followed them. These rules promote the biggest strongest teams getting better and do nothing to develop college ultimate as a whole. In my opinion the pick ups should go to the weaker teams, or teams who have limited numbers not the strongest and biggest teams or these players should have to start there own programs, like teams in the past had to.

My question to you is, and i think its a fair one, do you think UofT would have won the last two nationals without those 3 guys? Im not sure if they would have. How is it fair to teams who cant find extra pick ups, elite or not. Im with you and Haig in thinking that this rule is old and out dated and its time for a change. And its not just this rule, its the general non-caring attitude about eligibility and pick ups. Another example is jeff linquist picking up for guelph at CEUCC and helping them make it to the finals when he wasnt even enrolled as a student. I know for a fact this upset many of the magill players who played well within the rules.

This isnt really what this post is about anyway. Its not about how these players help one teams players develop, its about how these rules affect overall development of college ultimate in canada as a whole. Im with Haig in thinking that if you want help from these players they can help coach or run practices as John and i do for queens and carelton respectively, and this would have meant you still benefited from there presence and could have taken it to the fields yourself. Its been way too evident for the last two years that these rules might not be exactly fair for everyone (excluding the team that picks up the ringers and the these ringers without teams who get a chance to play) and from my knowledge there hasnt been a great increase in new teams at the national level for years, so it doesnt seem like its promoting growth to well and it certainly doesnt promote fairness to all teams.

Just so you all know these rants of mine dont come out of bitterness to losing to a team packed with ringers. At queens we never picked any one up, i guess we never had the opportunity or luxury to do that, and to me that seemed fair. Its just become clear over the last 2 years to me that its not fair to all the other teams to allow big city schools to add more players, who in this case happen to be the 3 best players in college ultimate, to already huge teams.

I also agree with ryan in the fact that the best way for your team to develop would be to play more UPA spring series, without the stars.

Im still not sure what you could do to the rules to improve them, ive got ideas but not sure if theyd work. My original post was an attempt to get a discussion started in hopes of coming up with some ideas on how to improve the situation.

And sorry to tell you this but this isnt going to be a moot point. UofT will not repeat next year. You have my word. Just wanted to start the trash talking early

Taylor said...

Peter I think this might be a record number of comments.

To Mooney's question of how to improve the situation. This isn't a brilliant or particularly original idea by any means, but what about having a hat team at CUUC that all the players without teams could play on. You'd have set up some rules so that not too many from one school could play (otherwise they should just make their own team) and you couldn't have superstars from various teams defecting to the hat team in an attempt to win it all (doubtful that that would ever be an issue). Obviously they wouldn't have the benefit of practicing together, but it would give guys the experience/opportunity to play CUUC when they wouldn't otherwise. I know there were some dudes from out east looking to pick up with a team last fall as exceptions, so there definitely are people out there who want to play but can't.

To the idea of getting more experience in the spring. It's very true. Here are the problems U of T (and I'm sure a lot of other teams do too). 1) weather. The weather in the spring is moderate at best in toronto. Makes practicing hard. 2) exams. The Canadian university terms are different from the US so we're in the middle of exams by the time sectionals get going. 3) money. This is the case for all the Canadian teams I'm sure. We don't have any funding. This isn't an issue for getting to sectionals. The problem is if we're looking to get 2-3 good tourneys under our belts before that. There aren't that many spectacular tourneys around us, and obviously the price skyrockets as soon as you have to fly. Fundraising tips anyone?


Patrick Mooney said...

good post dude, with some good ideas, and good hanging out on saturday. i was also thinking some sort of hat situation where teams that needed players could reach in the hat and pull some out or they could form a team but that seems like it might not work either and having a team not represented by a univeristy or college at College nationals doesnt sit to well with me either.

In my opinion one option is turning it into more of a UPA series set up, forcing players to start new teams and for players to follow strict guidelines to be eligible. And if players do want to play they must be taking at least 3 credited courses at that school or one affiliated with a specific school in some way, for instance in my opinion toyla and scotty should have to play for guelph as Guelph and humber are affiliated. And eligibility should start the first day you play a college game and goes for 5 years (maybe with some exception sif they cancel nationals like that year in montreal). I guess i just want this whole thing to be more legit and fair and be on par as far as guidlines as many other college sports.

Otherwise i like the idea of anyone who cant find a team putting there name on a list and it would either be pick up if you need them or random draw where teams have the option to turn down the players

I know this doesnt allow these players time to practice with a team in there area but i think thats something that has to suffer at the cost of improving the whole system

Taylor said...

Here's a UPA rule that we've have some issue with and I'm interested to hear your opinion. U of T has 3 campuses (Scarborough, St George, and Erindale ie Missisauga). The UPA hasn't let us use players who go to these different campus on the same team. I understand why you wouldn't want a conglomerate of all the UC teams (ie UCLA, SB, etc etc). However, the fact is that all three U of T campuses are in the same city and you could take courses at all three if you really wanted to. Argument against my point: U of T is huge and why shouldn't UT Scarborough just field their own team for UPAs. Thoughts?

Patrick Mooney said...

when you compare it to U of C's i see your point but in my opinion in your case that should be fully allowed. If you can take courses at them all then i see no issues. But when you think of UCLA mixing with UCSC, UCSD, UC, UCSB and so on i kind of see there point. however i assume you cant take a course at any of these universities like you could at any of the UofT ones

this is a situation i think you guys are getting screwed on

jhaig said...

Are varsity athletes from the various campuses allowed to compete on the same team at UofT? If they were then you could probably make a case to the UPA to allow your players to play. It's been a while since I last looked at the UPA elligibility rules, but I remember there being something about different schools or campuses with already established joint athletics programs.

As for changes to CUPA rules, I would get rid of the exception rule all together. It sucks if only 5 people from your school play frisbee, but in the off season teach 5 friends and bring a team next year. Every year you see players playing their first ever frisbee games at CUUC. You're team will suck, but everyone has to start somewhere.

I'd say there is some grey area with part time students and then the number of years you can play. Either way though it's time for a change. We see tons of teams at easterns and nationals each year, growth is not our issue.

Jeff said...

"Another example is jeff linquist picking up for guelph at CEUCC...I know for a fact this upset many of the magill players who played well within the rules"

is that rich guy eligible for mcgill still? if so (which i doubt, he's been playing longer than i have) they may play within the eligibility rules but they're all still a bunch of cheaters on the field! western should be the mad team though, i think they would have beat mcgill in the semis. trash talking's the best.

ryan said...

Here are the CUUC rules I would like to see:

-no 3 exceptions. players will be forced to start new teams at their schools. maybe 1 exception would be a compromise??? this would take many of the ringers out, but allow individuals that couldn't otherwise compete to play. 1 person isn't really capable of starting a new ultimate team'll need several vets to do that.
-consortium between universities and colleges, similar to upa rules. university is allowed to combine with 1 local college. the smaller colleges really have no chance to field teams. this would allow them to play and promote growth.
-5 total tournaments per player. mature and grad students can play with their school.
-minimum 2 classes to play.
-co-op students allowed to play.
-no hat team. if having the 3 exceptions is silly, where does this fall???

anybody care to comment or diagree???

ryan said...

...adding something to my last post. maybe this would be a good rule:
-any team making quarters the previous year is allowed 0 exceptions. all other teams are allowed 3 exceptions. i think this could really help the newer teams grow and prevent the bigger schools from picking up ringers.

Taylor said...

Interesting stuff Ryan. Regarding the consortium: then U of T would just join with Humber College and get Toly and Scotty anyways. As far as I know co-op players are legit with CUPA provided that it's part of your degree. I did co-op 2 years ago and had to get some documentation to CUPA but it worked out fine.
I'd say minimum 3 classes to play(assuming 5 is full load) but with the exception if it's the student's last term. They have some clause about this in the UPAs.

Fadi said...

I think the consortium rule takes effect only if the schools have some kind of official links outside of ultimate. I don't think you could argue a UofT-Humber consortium since Humber is affiliated with Guelph (according to Mooney).

@Jeff: I'm 5 years out of university and never played a game at McGill with Rich. So yeah, he is/was still eligible.

tingle said...

not sure i understand one of you're points fully, ryan. 5 total tournaments per player would seem to penalize players who play for competitive that play more tournaments than less competitive teams. some clarification would be appreciated.


Patrick Mooney said...

Kirker said...

I am coming into this great debate a little late. There are a lot of great things being said here, and I completely agree that CUPA needs to revisit its player eligibility rules. The 3 exceptions rule was meant to be a temporary thing until schools developed stronger programs -- in the end it may have stunted programs. For example, York might have developed a strong program under Inian's leadership. Humber may have developed a strong program under Scotty and Toly. That's an debate unto itself.

The debate as to whether UofT only won because of its 3 exceptions is a different one. UofT had all the same players (except Toly) for 2 few years (2004, 2005) before we won anything. In 2004 and 2005 we got beat in quarters of semis. Our main problem then was that our vets were trying to do everything. We quickly learned that you can't win with 5 strong players. In order to win, you need to have players 5-20 playing well too. This is something that Queens has done very well over the years. After losing in 2005 we decided to take a different approach. We forced all of our players to tour. Most of them toured with Roy (The number 3 team in Toronto's club system). Some toured with GT and some with Goat. We also started running 2-hour practices at 7am Monday-Friday. The early mornings were the only time we could get good field space, but it also helped separate the "conveniently committed" from the "hardcore committed" players. Our exceptions from Humber and York also attended these practices fairly religiously. In 2006/2007, pretty much every player on the team was touring in the summers and playing every day with UofT in the fall. As players evolved in their own game, the team became much stronger. To the point where we were able to beat many teams with our bench and rest our "A line" for the semis/finals.

So, it wasn't a pickup squad of exceptions. It was a team that worked hard to develop -- and it took us 5 years to get to the point where we could win 2 CUUC championships in a row. I realize that in 2006/2007, we had a crazy stacked roster --- but I just wanted to point out that this was because of hard work and an evolution. Not because we plucked strong players from the community to stack our roster. None of UofT's top players played with Goat or even GT at the time we all started building in 2002. UofT has become a great developmental pool for Roy, GT and Goat. If you look at the timeline of things, you can easily argue that UofT fed the Toronto touring scene moreso than the Toronto touring scene is feeding UofT (ie, UofT didn't pickup a bunch of Goat and GT guys, rather a bunch of UofT guys eventually made Goat and GT).


Ladida said...

Well said Kirk.

For the record, anyone with any association to the Tula Open squad knows how motivated and dedicated these boys are (top to bottom of the bench). That doesn't come from 'picking up ringers'. That comes from feeling that you are really and truly an important part of your team... We should all be so lucky.